Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Break up the Orioles!

The 2008 baseball season is not even two weeks old and some teams' starts are raising eyebrows, especially the bad ones. The Mets, after an Opening Day loss at Shea to the Phillies, are now 2-4. At that pace, the Mets stand to lose 108 games this season! What? Six games isn't much of a sample? Forgive my over-eager extrapolation. I suppose they've got a chance to turn things around over the next 156 games.

But there's another contender off to an ever worse start and the next 150 games may not hold so much promise. The Detroit Tigers, picked by many as World Series hopefuls, are shockingly 0-7 to start the season. Sure, it's a long season, but 0-7 is still a legitimate hole.

Let's say the Tigers shake off the slump and start playing .700 ball, a pretty impressive clip. (Over a full season, a team that played .700 would win 113 games.) So at that rate, over the next two weeks, say 14 games, the Tigers would be 10-11. Ugh. But what if they could keep that torrid pace for over a month? The Tigers might make it to 21-16. Okay, that's certainly better, and .568 baseball leaves you with about 92 wins. But winning 21 out of 30 games after you've lost your first seven sounds like a tall order.

Now look, no one is going to confuse this Detroit team with the 1988 Orioles, a team that lost a record-setting 21 straight to open the season. But so far, the Tigers have earned those losses and the numbers aren't pretty:
  • a .234 team batting average (24th in MLB)
  • a .332 team slugging percentage (29th)
  • a staff ERA of 5.20 (27th)
Bad hitting + bad pitching = bad baseball. So far in 2008, that equation fits no team better than the Tigers.

1 comment:

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